Why are kissing scenes still a taboo on Indian television?

Published: 25 October, 2013 07:21 IST | Sonali Joshi Pitale |

While the big screen has made peace with kissing, the Indian hypocrisy comes to the fore yet again as far as smooching on television is concerned

While most Indian channels have shied away from getting their actors to lock lips, ironically the Hollywood and world movies and shows on other channels have no restrictions, whatsoever. HitList wonders why...

Ekta Kapoor received a lot of hate mail when she dared to show a smooch sequence in her show Bade Acche Lagte Hai between the unlikeliest candidates Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar. The kiss and the so-called making-out scene after that created so much hype that social networking sites went on an overdrive with people commenting minute-by-minute on the developments.

Nikita Sharma and Ayaz Ahmad in Do Dil Ek Jaan
Nikita Sharma and Ayaz Ahmad in 'Do Dil Ek Jaan'

Soon some of them followed the trend but yet, we have come to know that most programming heads choose to turn their head away from kisses, as they don’t want to offend family audiences. Ironically, the same audience is privy to heavy-duty kissing and more on other foreign channels. Raquesh Vashisth and his then on-screen co-star Ridhi Dogra shared a kiss in their show Maryada. The couple later tied the knot in real life. They got both positive and negative feedback.

Raquesh Vashisth and Ridhi Dogra and their smooching scene in 'Maryada'

Raquesh believes that the kind of hype is not necessary. He says, “Our show’s time slot was kept late night because of its content, so we did not have a big issue while showing the scene. I think there should not be a big deal about these scenes as everyone is aware about it and in it is a good way to spread awareness among kids.

Raquesh Vashisth and Ridhi Dogra and their smooching scene in Maryada
Raquesh Vashisth and Ridhi Dogra and their smooching scene in 'Maryada'

When we were in to our teens we were not familiar with it and there was curiosity about it. It is not a hidden fact anymore. Now the picture has changed and, I guess, parents and kids know where to draw a line. I feel there should be certain barriers and programming teams of the channels are definitely managing it well.” Meanwhile, Raquesh and Ridhi who are part of the new season of Nach Baliye have shot for a sensuous promo too.

Rupal Tyagi and Ankit Gera in Sapne Suhana Ladakpan Ke
Rupal Tyagi and Ankit Gera in 'Sapne Suhana Ladakpan Ke'

Ankit Gera, who recently shared a smooch scene with his co-star Rupal Tyagi in Sapne Suhana Ladakpan Ke thinks that this buzz about kissing can also have adverse effect. “To raise the numbers unit members try to build atmosphere by giving out stories on lip locks however in my show we ended up having low TRPs on that particular episode. I think for TV it does not work.

Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar in Bade Acche Lagte Hain
Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar in 'Bade Acche Lagte Hain'

We did it because it was demand of the script because we are shown adolescents and out of excitement and to express their love and I also know it is not a big deal. For the public it is not comfortable to watch it in front of their children and since it has not worked in favour of me I have decided I will not do it future. Both Nikita Sharma and Ayaz Ahmad from Do Dil Ek Jaan were not lucky enough. Their kissing scene was chopped off even before it could see light of day. They were shown getting intimate during the Navratri celebrations in the show. They were only seen kissing on the cheek instead. 

The show’s producer, Abhinav Shukla, says, “Indian television is evolving by the day with it’s programming, we didn’t want to limit the viewers to conventional ways in which intimate scenes have been shown on Indian televison so far, the show has a young vibe and has been lauded by the fans, we are glad that we got a very positive response from the viewers.”

Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar was one of the first shows to feature a kissing scene between a married couple in Bade Acche Lagte Hai. It pioneered the debate whether it is right to have smooch and intimate scenes in television show. While some loyal audience did not like producer Ekta Kapoor’s idea to show bold content on TV, some reacted positively and finally it ended up garnering high numbers for the show.

Sudhir Mishra, the producer of the youth-based show, The Buddy Project, thinks that romantic scenes should only be shown on television at a certain time slot. “It depends on the psyche of the society. Even U rated films do have kissing scenes, but then we choose to go on theatres while in case of television it is already in our house and we normally prefer watching it with family. Fortunately the creative team of the channels are very strong and they know their responsibility so they will not just add content for the sake of adding spice or increase ratings. As a producer I will also not do it. In case of kids , when they watch it in cartoon films it is in a different context. The bottom line is in which context you are showing it is important.” 

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